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Oregon earns failing grade for flavored tobacco products

In World
February 26, 2024

Feb. 26—A new report from the American Lung Association urges local and state elected officials to focus on restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products to reduce the burden of tobacco use.

The 2024 State of Tobacco Control report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. Oregon fares well in all categories except for flavored tobacco, according to the new report.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in Oregon and across the country and takes the lives of over 5,400 state residents each year, according to the American Lung Association.

“The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Oregon lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” the American Lung Association Senior Director of Advocacy Carrie Nyssen said.

This year, the Association is working with local and state policymakers to focus on ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.

“We know that kids are attracted to flavored e-cigarettes, and that menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities, with over 80% of Black individuals who smoke using them,” Nyssen said. “Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, will not only help end youth vaping, but will address health disparities.”

Oregon Grades

The State of Tobacco Control report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2024 report, Oregon received the following grades:

Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs — Grade B*

Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws — Grade A

Level of State Tobacco Taxes — Grade C

Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco — Grade C

Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products — Grade F

*State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates.

Federal Grades Overview

This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth, according to Nyssen.

“Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products,” she said.

The 2024 State of Tobacco Control report grades the federal government in five areas:

Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products — Grade C

Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments — Grade D

Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes — Grade F

Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use — Grade: A

Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 — Incomplete*

*FDA remains grossly overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.”

The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now, according to Nyssen.

The Association is urging the public to send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently.

To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc. The Reach the Beach bicycling event is coming on May 18. Learn more at ReachTheBeachOR.org.

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